What I Carried

Back in college, I read a book by Tim O'Brien titled, The Things They Carried.  The book is about a lot of things, but it's title could also read 'The Things the Soldiers in Vietnam Carried."  Here is a link to an online (free) version of the book.  I haven't read through this version, so I can't vouch for its completeness.  I recommend buying the book. 

It's a great book and a quick read.  If you like reading war stories, you'll like this book.  If you don't know anything or have any interest in Vietnam or war in general, I think you'd still like it.

So why bring this book up?  Well, I was emptying my pockets after work here in Iraq one day and O'Brien's book came to mind.  Since I find myself in a warzone, I decided to pay a small tribute to O'Brien and his book by listing what I have carried during my tour.*  Below I have listed all the items that I carry day to day.  Below that list is a shorter list of additional things I carry if I go outside the wire.

What I carry (inside the wire):
  •  tourniquet
  • Gerber multi-tool
  • 9mm Beretta
  • 15 rounds of 9mm ammunition
  • 1 magazine holding 9mm rounds
  • Beretta holster w/leash
  • I.D. (dog) tags
  • QuikClot combat gauze
  • Common Access Card (CAC)
  • security badge
  • black Sharpie marker
  • yellow highlighter
  • 2 pencils (mechanical, 0.7mm)
  • 1 black skilcraft pen
  • wallet w/debit card, driver's license, cash, and EagleCash card
  • 4 Gigabyte SD card
  • chapstick
  • pocket knife
  • eye protection soft case
  • uv protective or clear lens eye protection 
  • ECP badge with clear case
  • 3x5in notecard used for in and out briefs for my Soldiers
  • leather gloves
  • reflective belt
  • 8x5.5" record book

What I carry (outside the wire):
  • all the things on the above list
  • Advanced Combat Helmet (ACH)
  • rhino mount for night vision goggles
  • Improved Outer Tactical Vest (IOTV) (i.e. body armor)
    • this includes front/back/side armor plates
  • hard plastic holster for my Beretta
  • Camelbak water reservoir
  • M4 carbine
  • 210 rounds of 5.56 ball ammunition (spread over 7 magazines)
  • 45 rounds of 9mm rounds (spread over 3 magazines)
  • Improved First-Aid Kit (IFAK)
  • seatbelt cutter
  • Petzl Taktikka+ headlamp
  • lighter
  • hard candy, gum, or both

Well, that's what I carry.  As I was writing it down I realized the list was a lot longer than I thought it was going to be.  I guess I have just gotten used to carrying it so I don't really pay attention to how much there really is.

What do you carry?  Whether you are in the military or not, I'd be interested to see what kinds of things people carry on a daily basis.


*  I wonder why they call it a "tour" of duty...  There are no guides.  There are no bright red umbrellas to serve as our beacon in case one of us gets lost in the crowd.  Do you have any idea why they call it a "tour?"


  1. i carry a 15 lb, 12 oz baby around.

    i normally carry chapstick in my pockets.

    in the diaper bag:
    granola bar
    hand sanitizer
    rash cream
    more hand sanitizer
    change + a few dollars
    hair ties
    bobby pins
    1-2 snappis
    changing pad
    disposable changing pad
    disposable wipes (just in case)
    baby headband
    change of baby clothes
    2-3 prefolds
    extra cover
    1 fitted diaper
    4-5 wipes
    wet bag
    water spritzer
    nursing cover
    nursing rag
    baby jacket, hat, mittens (when it's cold)
    camelbak water bottle
    baby tylenol
    musical snail (when we'll be out for awhile)
    extra paci (when i can find one)

    in the car seat:
    2 blankets (one MUST be the white/swaddler one)
    linking rings with teether + mr cow attached

    in the car:
    moby wrap
    extra mom shirt
    extra toy
    extra blanket

    i wonder if he's ready to pack this darn thing up everyday?